Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yes, I like to laugh at Norman. Yes, I know there are sensible christians out there who are not so ridiculous.

     Norman begins his latest post by "talking" to one of the voices in his head and then acting as if he has just noticed the reader. When I was a child (and dinosaurs roamed the earth) this type of technique was used only occasionally in children's shows; And I thought it rather stupid then. From what I have heard, it has become more prevalent. It has some place in children's shows because children (unfamiliar with the world) can actually believe that there are really people in the television set that are responding in real time. However, as adults we understand that the shows are pre-recorded and that the characters cannot actually see the viewers. Personally, I think this shows the level of mental capacity that "Stormin' Norman" thinks conducive to following his message.
     "I don't think Norman the yap-dog paranoid troll and his master Rotten have heard what you said about them in the podcast."
     What? He wasn't paying attention to what he said, either? I do, however, think it appropriate that he refered to Jesus as "Rotten." The stories are surely fictional; but the character portrayed is, indeed, quite rotten.
     His main post is about appeals to emotion. He should be familiar with the concept as he uses the technique almost exclusively. I lost track of how many times he told non-christians to "man up" on Dan's blog. I also note that he says "unfortunately, some people are skilled at the more subtle forms of manipulation." The only thing I think he considers unfortunate is that he does not. Happily, all of his attempts to manipulate are blatantly obvious. That is, perhaps, why he feels the need to pre-screen comments. Allowing uncontrolled dissent would shatter his manipulation even of the faithful.
     "Brand someone with a label that has negative connotations and you can win over the weak-minded to your side."
     And, again, he is bragging about the way he operates. Note well: He never actual names for any of his critics. He picks terms that he intends as derogatory. Now, the reader may ask if I am not avoiding using Norman's actual screenname. Well, to this I answer that Norman is one of the names that he has chosen, and that it is quite appropriate to use it. Now "Stormin' Norman" may be taken as a bit of ridicule laced with sarcasm; but I really think that is the way he views himself.
     "One of the most blatantly stupid attack labels is liar for Jesus.' It is immediately laughable to anyone with a grain of sense because it implies the accuser has some kind of godlike power to know the thoughts and motives of the person they are attacking."
     As a matter of fact, it implies no such ability. People accused of being liars for Jesus, openly claim that they do what they do "for Jesus." And Norman is no exception. So that part is really not in dispute. The "liar" part is quite evident. We are talking about people who claim that non-believers really believe in the christian god but are "suppressing the truth in unrighteousness." It's not a true claim. The conclusion that they are lying (deliberately making false claims to trick their followers) is completely reasonable. I may not be able to read your mind directly. But your actions are a reflection of it. If I see enough of your actions, I can develop a reasonable (though incomplete) model of your mind. I can predict future actions and I can predict what you will believe. The predictions aren't perfect; but they are useful. Furthermore, people do this and will continue to do this because it works. Indeed, Norman does this. His predictions tend to be faulty because: 1) He doesn't really pay much attention to the actual actions of his critics. and 2) He has a tendency to insert motives that make his religion look better when the straight prediction makes his religion look bad.